Catalogue No. 69
Madonna and Child adored by St. Maria Maddalena de'Pazzi (?) and St. Felix of Cantalice

Artist: Laueret, After
Madonna and Child adored by St. Maria Maddalena de'Pazzi (?) and St. Felix of Cantalice

Mid-17th C
Oil on Canvas 39¼ x 47¾ ins

Collection Details
History unrecorded until owned by Agnew’s in 1955; acquired by Lord Faringdon in 1958.

Background
Previously thought to show St Theresa of Ávila and St Francis, this picture instead seems to show two saints united by their particular devotion to the infant Christ.

 

St Maria Maddalena (1566–1607), from the noble Florentine family of the Pazzi, was a Carmelite nun like St Theresa, and resembled her in her multitude of visions, in one of which (just as with St Felix) the Madonna offered her the Christ Child to hold.  She was beatified in 1626 and canonised in 1669.  It is only the apparent age of the nun here that casts some doubt on the identification (but it would also tell against St Theresa).
  
St Felix (1515–87) of Cantalice in Umbria, known from his begging as Brother ‘Deo Gratias’, was a Capuchin friar with a special devotion to the Madonna and Child, whom he saw repeatedly in visions.  St Felix was beatified in 1625, and not canonised until 1712, but images of him as a venerable old friar were current long before.

 

The supposed presence of St Theresa in this picture led to its being originally ascribed to an obscure Spanish artist, Gaspar de la Huerta.  Xavier de Salas did not believe the picture to be Spanish at all, and concurred with Anthony Blunt in seeing it as more probably a product of the Spanish-influenced Neapolitan School.

 

However, it does not even appear necessary to go as far as this: the types of the faces, the mild chiaroscuro, and the rather hesitant facture, all seem to point to the Bolognese School, even if a particular artist cannot yet be named.